Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) made a very controversial comparison Wednesday during his questioning at the confirmation headings for Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon-Mobil CEO and Secretary of State-designate.
Menendez made the comments in the run-up to a question about Mexico and the border wall that Trump has been proposing:
Let me turn to Mexico, a little different part of the world than we've been discussing, some of us care about the western hemisphere. Last week the president-elect tweeted that any money spent on building the great wall will be paid by Mexico.
Mr. Tillerson, building a wall on the Southern border and having Mexico pay for it has been has been a hallmark chant at Trump rallies. Now the president-elect says the American people people will pay for it, and then the Mexicans will reimburse us.
I also want to point out that the last time a country tried to wall itself completely from its neighbor was in Berlin in 1961, and that wall was constructed by communist East Germany.
This has been a comparison made by many on the left to attempt to color the suggestion of tighter border security with that of Communist aggression.
The question Menendez eventually landed on was, "So, Mr. Tillerson, do you think Mexicans are criminals, drug dealers and rapists?"
"I would never characterize an entire population with any single term at all," Tillerson answered.
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 11, 2017
Many on social media saw the interaction and immediately pounced on what they saw was an unfair comparison, as the Berlin Wall was to keep people into an oppressive totalitarian state, while a border wall would keep people seeking illegal entry out:
Menendez was indicted on corruption charges in 2015 for accepting hundreds of thousand of dollars in gifts in exchange for favors.